Brands jumping on the live shopping format

As uncovered within Cassandra’s Values and Value - Consumer Confidence report, 40% of Gen Z are purchasing more online as we head further in 2023. Live shopping, in particular, has seen a surge in popularity with predictions of it becoming a $35 billion industry in the U.S. by 2024. While adoption in the U.S. has yet to explode, marketers are recognizing how successful the format has been in other countries and noting its potential. In fact, with 41% of Gen Z feeling that now is a good time to subscribe to a new streaming service, many predict the live stream shopping era as the next frontier of e-commerce, with direct access to streamers fostering kinship, trust, and, on a grander scale, community, which, as we know, is the cornerstone for today's youth. Ahead, we look at brands starting to integrate live formats into their digital commerce operations.

Image of the TikTok logo over a black background


TikTok has seen big success with in-stream commerce in China, with the Chinese version of the app, Douyin, generating most of its revenue from in-app purchases. In February, while Instagram announced the end of its “Live Shopping” feature, TikTok continued to push on, activating the Shop tab on profiles of select U.S. retailers, including Pacsun, Revolve, Three Little Mingos, KimChi Chic, and Willow Boutique. Unlike the typical TikTok shopping process, which sends users to retailer websites, the platform's in-stream shopping experience happens in-app and includes a shop overview and purchase option, which will likely work independently of TikTok’s other latest launch ‘Series’ which enables creators to charge for exclusive content.

Image of the Whatnot logo with a stack of items featuring a blue Louis Vuitton, Nike shoe box, Spiderman comic, etc.


Whatnot, is a live streaming shopping platform-cum-online marketplace that co-founder Grant LaFontaine describes as “eBay meets Twitch.” Initially launched to provide hobbyists and collectors of Funko Pops, sports cards, and comic books a meeting ground to gather, sell, and buy, Whatnot has since expanded to 80 categories, with fashion as the fastest-growing segment. Some streams are reminiscent of live auctions (including the super chaotic, super high-energy associated with bids). Whatnot even includes giveaways during their live streams bringing in even higher numbers of purchasers based on their wish to win freebies alongside the rush of winning the bid of their precious item.

Image of the Talk Shop Live logo over a white background


A handful of startups are also developing new U.S. platforms devoted entirely to live shopping. One of the biggest among them is TalkShopLive, where Walmart held 150 live-shopping events in 2022, and celebrities like Dolly Parton, Oprah Winfrey, and Tim Tebow have gone live. In essence, the platform is a live streaming, social selling online network. Sellers showcase their products via live shows and chat in real-time with customers who, in turn, can purchase with one click on the buy button. The platform and iOS app are full service for sellers - from live show creation to order processing to ease of shipping and payouts. Buyers can access unlimited channels and live product shows. While TalkShopLive spans categories, beauty is the fastest-growing vertical on the platform.